After prodding along for several weeks, I have finally arrived at my last blog post of this series. I love all things sandtray and will continue to blog about its uses as well as other aspects of mental health.
Let’s get started, shall we?
To review, I have debunked 4 myths in the past 4 weeeks. You now know that sand tray is NOT
- Just playing in the sand
- Only for kids
For the final myth, I will address a more global concern I often hear from therapists.
Myth #5: I have to know the meaning behind everything in the sandtray or I’m not doing my job.
This is absolutely false. However, the fear of not knowing can lead some therapists to shy away from sandtray therapy. Our clients and others in our society often think that we as mental health workers should have a crystal ball to predict the future and see the meaning of everything.
When we have the mindset that we have to know everything, we are only setting ourselves up to fail. As mentioned in the my first blog post, the brain will do the work it needs to do. The brain research behind sandtray indicates that if we provide a safe and protected space, then the brain will get what it needs to integrate. Our job is to show up and provide that free and protected space to do the real work.
Sounds too easy right?
Sandtray work is very fun, but it is not easy. Even in the observer or therapist role, we have the challenge to hold that protected environment and reflect feelings. Through the act of witnessing a client’s sandtray we are part of their inner space and working psyche. This is a privilege. Being present and providing unconditional positive regard will surpass the need for interpretation.
Duiring the last sandtray workshop at my private practice, I allowed the participants to view a video of myself doing sandtray. They asked what I would do differently and were shocked at my simple answer.
I would talk less.
During a sandtray therapy session, practice being present and avoid using too much left brain work in the tray. Stay present to the feelings and holding the space. What will stay with the client is more of how you were with them than what you said.
“I’ve Learned That People Will Forget What You Said, People Will Forget What You Did, but People Will Never Forget How You Made Them Feel.”
Do you struggle with the concept of “not knowing?” What are some things you do to overcome this struggle?